September 8, 2007 3:58 pm

Cohabitating

To those of you who live with your significant others, especially if you are not married: How combined are your lifestyles?

I ask because I have recently noticed that Daniel and I keep an awful lot of things separated when it comes to cohabitating. For instance:

Grocery Shopping
We more or less take turns buying. That said, sometimes, 90% of the items are “mine,” as in, things for me to put in my lunch that Daniel doesn’t necessarily want or eat, and how is that fair that he has to pay for all that food he won’t eat? We usually compromise by having the offender pay for the groceries that time and then resume tradeoff the next time. This is obviously not a perfect solution, and I am curious how other people deal with it. Do you view it as a “household” expense that just gets paid regardless of who does the eating of the food?

Laundry
We have separate hampers and generally do our laundry completely independent of one another. Sometimes someone will ask, “Are you doing laundry? Can you throw in [blank] if you have room?” or whatever it may be. Is it more efficient to wash everything together? Are we just crazy?

Finances
None of our finances are combined. I’ve heard off and on that this is a smart move, as you don’t want too many things wrapped up “just in case” – whether that’s true or not, we’ve just never bothered to get a joint account. We handle most jointly-paid items by switching off who pays them. I might pay the cable bill one month while Daniel covers electricity and gas, or I pay rent and he pays me back half of it.

I suppose these questions could apply to roommate situations as well, but in that case I feel like you are less inclined to voluntarily cover someone else’s expenses if need be. How do you handle these things in your household?

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7 Comments

  • lkvy says:

    When I lived with my boyfriend, he only got one paycheque per month, at the end of the month. So I paid for all the groceries and at the end of the month I’d add it up, split it in half and deduct it from my half of the rent. I did work well, but it also made him feel like he paid more in rent.

    We always did laundry together. His loads would always be much bigger than mind but I wasn’t fussy about it.

    Joint accounts are for suckers.

  • Bobbi-lee says:

    I have lived with my partner for just over 4 years. At the start it was him who paid for everything as I didn’t have a job yet, but when I got one everything was pretty much even.
    Grocery Shopping- we did this together, and although our food tastes were different (mine -healthy, his – junkfood) we still paid it together, we never split it and said you pay for yours I pay for mine, it just went through together and whoever had money at the time paid it..It’s like “whats his is mine whats mine is his” to us it’s just another household expense…
    Laundry- I am lazy when it comes to laundry so I never do it. We have thise deal if he puts it on and washes it, then once it is dry I will fold and put it all away. We put all ours in together.
    Finances- we do have a joint account, but I never use it (only in an emergency if I have no money I will use it, i have used it only twice ever). He uses it as his primary account, I prefer my other bank account. We get paid on off weeks (ie, he gets paid one, I get paid the next) so it’s never a problem. As far as bills go, they all go in my name (he had a bad credit rating) but he pays nearly all of them (rent, fuel, electricity, water, etc) whilst I pay for the luxury items (internet, phone, mobile). We also have a car loan which I got out on my name but he pays for that monthly, and a furniture/electrical loan which I pay for monthly (they are both around the same cost each)
    If it was a roomaate, I probably wouldnt want to cover their expense, whether it is food or rent, I wouldn’t do it.
    I guess with us as a relationship thats how we do it, we live like a married couple, with everything shared and equal.

  • Erin says:

    We share everything while I control the finances. But our relationship is that of a married couple even though we still need to get hitched. I just find it easier to make sure everything is taken care of if I organize it because my lovely SO is scatterbrained about such things.

  • Nicole says:

    Craig and I have been living together for about 4 years now, and I would say almost everything is combined.

    I would actually really like to have joint accounts – it would make something much easier.

    Both of us do not work, so we get the monthly money from my family so I end up paying for everything.

    Craig has started keeping his refund checks from school, but we mostly use that as our “fun” money and pend it on entertainment.

    My mom gives us a lot of our monthly money so she makes me have an account linked to her, which he then checks all of my finances, hence the fun money when craig gets money.

    As far as household chores, that generally falls under me. However, one thing Craig does do is the cat box. This has to be done daily and it sucks with 3 cats and he hate it, but he does it.

    As far a cooking goes, we also try to do it together. It makes it a lot easier and a lot more fun if you are not alone doing it.

    In the past when our kitchen was a little small for 2 people we would switch off and one person would cook and the other person would do the dishes.

    Grocery shopping is almost always done together, 100% always if its a big shop, but ocassionaly one of us will go alone.

    I consider all money our money, and so I do not see it as me paying all of the bills, because I dont really feel like its my money, but I know craig has trouble with it.

    I can not wait till we both have jobs, then I am sure it will all go to one joint account, its just so much easier that way.

  • Kelly says:

    I am neither married nor do I live with my significant other (as I don’t have one :P), but I have just started living with 3 of my Uni friends. It seems that everything is in my name, as I moved in first, and so I’m in the process of getting a bank account set up, separate from my own, where jointly paid for things will go out of.

  • George says:

    I’m the only guy that comments on your blog.

    D and I have gotten to the point that we combine everything – laundry, groceries, and finances. It’s way easier.

  • SWSNBN says:

    Well, I make all the money right now. My BF doesn’t, but he is getting a little money right now, and he mainly uses that for cigarettes. Our rent is based on our income though, so no one is too worried about me (besides me, but I always worry about money. LOL), and we do have a joint checking account. But it’s my account, we had to add him so that he could move in with me. He asks if he needs something extra, and otherwise, he doesn’t touch the account. So, I guess I buy everything. But he does all the child rearing, so I think it evens out.
    I’d also like to add that he’s taking care of my child, not his. And I couldn’t ask for a better father figure, so it makes me being the money earner easier on me. Though I think he feels bad. And I know we won’t get anywhere near married until he feels like he is helping support us.
    So that part sucks. I’m trying to get him to understand that if I was the guy, no one would say or think crap.
    Maybe we’ll get there.
    I don’t know if any of that helps.
    We do share laundry.